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Using citizen science to help answer humanity's greatest questions. By Chandra Clarke

Making Data Shareable

Photo Credit: Simos Xenitellis via Wikimedia Commons

Project: CitSci.org

While the citizen science movement has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade, there is still much untapped possibility. A special platform of tools seeks to extract as much value as possible from citizen science projects.

Called CitSci.org, the site hopes to standardize how data is collected, stored, and annotated. "Citizen science projects have the potential to advance science by increasing the volume and variety of data, as well as innovation," said the site creators, Yiwei Wang, Nicole Kaplan, Greg Newman, and Russell Scarpino. "Yet this potential has not been fully realized, in part because citizen science data are typically not widely shared and reused...We can increase confidence in (and reuse of) citizen science data by offering project coordinators improved and easy-to-use tools to document and generate associated metadata."

The site allows you to create projects, datasheets, set your own protocols, create plots, do data analysis, and build reports. All of the tools and data storage are provided free.

The site has been growing in popularity, beginning with just a handful of projects added in 2006, to handling 200 new projects in 2015. It is now also a site for citizen science researchers to learn more about citizen science. "Researchers in academia investigate the workings of CitSci.org in order to better understand the process of citizen science and the quality of data that emerges. In addition to learning more about citizen science, other researchers use the results found from posted projects to complete meta-analyses."

To use the site, simply register at this page.

Chandra Clarke is a Webby Honoree-winning blogger, a successful entrepreneur, and an author. Her book Be the Change: Saving the World with Citizen Science is available at Amazon. You can connect with her on Twitter @chandraclarke.

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